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Residents surrounded by flowing sewerage while ZINWA keeps its silence
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
July 09, 2007

KUWADZANA residents have lived with flowing raw sewerage on their streets and in their homes for the past month weeks but ZINWA and City of Harare have done nothing, claiming that the underground sewer pipes had completely broken down and need replacement. This means these people have to endure more days with sewerage around them.

The situation is worsened by the power outages that have constantly hit the suburbs. Most residents are finding it difficult or even prepare their food in their yards. Most rely on firewood to make food.

It is now feared that these people might actually contract the deadly cholera, dysentery and skin diseases if this situation is not addressed as a matter of urgency. Other affected areas include Highfield, Glen View, Glen Norah, Budiriro, Mufakose, Dzivarasekwa and Tafara-Mabvuku.

Drainages along the main road to Gazaland Shopping Centre in Highfield, sewerage is flowing without restraint and also at the entrance of Rusvingo Primary School. Children are at risk as they attend school.

Tsitsi Kugara, the Ward 25 Coordinator told CHRA that residents are set to meet tomorrow (Tuesday 10 July 2007) to discuss way forward over the health crisis.

When CHRA visited Kuwadzana on Saturday and Sunday, raw sewerage flowed with abandon along 55th, Street. This street stretches from Kuwadzana 4 Shopping Centre up to Seventh Day Adventist. Sewerage also flowed along in 62nd street, from the Kuwadzana Clinic. In Kuwadzana 5, sewerage flowed along main streets from almost every household, making the whole suburb stink.

In separate interviews, residents accused both ZINWA and the City of Harare of neglect by their failure to immediately resolve the burst sewerage pipes that threatens the lives of over 300 000 in Kuwadzana.

Patience Hosoro, CHRA's Ward 37 Chairperson said in her ward, the burst sewerage crisis affected mostly Kuwadzana 3 where almost all households except for a few have it flowing in their yards.

"We went to the City of Harare to report this matter after children at Kuwadzana 4 Primary School were turned away due to water shortages and burst sewer pipes, causing the whole school yard impassable," Ms Hosoro said. "They told us that the underground sewerage pipes had completely broken down and could not be repaired. They needed new ones to replace the old broken pipes."

Another resident, Mrs Grace Kawaza, the Chairperson for Ward 38 in Kuwadzana said worms were now coming out of the decomposing raw sewerage and this was now presenting a serious threat to residents, particularly children who play on the streets.

She said: "School children at Kuwadzana Number 2 Primary were send back home after the headmaster found the situation no longer unbearable, coupled with the water shortages that affected us last week, children were each asked to bring a 2-litre bottle of water to school. In our households residents are witnessing raw sewerage coming out from their toilets into their kitchens and around their yards."

Parents with school children in the Zero grades have been most affected as their infant children have occasionally fallen into the flowing sewerage, making them more vulnerable to cholera and dysentery outbreaks.

At one of the households where orphaned children attend pre-school, the owner Mrs Mapara was forced to temporarily close down the creche. This has happened for over four weeks. Residents of Budiriro 4 have been unable to freely move around their yards due to flowing sewerage that has remained unattended for over a month now.

In Glen Norah B' residents residing near Kudakwashe Primary School raw sewerage flows through a drainage that passes through the school to Glen Norah C' to Mukuvisi River. In Glen Norah B', Mrs Gladys Gonyora's house has sewerage flowing all over the place.

ZINWA has dismally failed to repair burst sewer pipes that have been reported to them by the residents of Harare. In similar contempt of the ratepayers, the City of Harare has been demanding that residents must pull resources to purchase fuel, provide vehicles and money for the municipal officials to repair the burst sewerage pipes.

CHRA urges residents to take up lawsuits against the City of Harare, ZINWA and the Ministry of health and child Welfare for their failure to abide by the Public Health Act under Section 14 which provides that local authorities should "take all precautions for the prevention or dealing with the outbreak of diseases. Those interested in taking up legal challenges on their health situation should approach CHRA for guidance or their lawyers.

At international level, the State, under Article 11 of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, states that State parties must recognise the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothes, housing and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.

Health as a human right is imputed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under Article 25 and under Article 16 of the African Charter.

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